What If's

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Maybe I should have been there when you died

Submitted: September 22, 2013

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Submitted: September 22, 2013



I would have liked to be there, I think. I would have like to have held her hand as she died. Hear the last words escape once-ruby lips, now pale and chapped. Seen the dreamy smile of the dying. And I’m sure I’ll regret it forever. I should have been there. No one to hold her hand, hear her words, see that smile. I’m sure some kindly nurse led her to the light, but dying by the ones who know you is, most likely preferable.

I remember the last time I saw you lying there. You were so, so very weak. It was the moment your eyes followed the hands of the doctor, who checked the IV. The vacancy horrified me a little. That moment, I knew your time was gonna be here real soon. I didn’t need him to pull me aside from you, placing his hand on my shoulder and trying to empathise. I didn’t need the words he’d probably said to a million others. I just sort of knew.

I really should have been there. I feel guilty that she died alone. She must have been scared. I’d think I feel more guilty that it doesn’t bother me as much as it should. But she died alone, and scared, and I wasn’t there to hold her hand.

Maybe I just couldn’t take it. To see you that weak. To watch you die. Really, it’s sort of ridiculous, I’ve been watching you die for a few months now. I should’ve been sobbing over your body, telling you that I loved you, over and over again, until the words were a broken background music that’d lull you asleep. But I didn’t. I think it’s because I’m really hurt myself.

Before the cancer and the chemo, things happened between us. I hated her for a long while. But when I came back around and saw her sick and dying, and knew she was dying, I knew I had to be there. She acted like she never hurt me and I never hurt her. Maybe that’s what happened in the end.

You died on me. You were so fucking selfish, you couldn’t hang on and get better. You couldn’t have let me hear about it a month from right now from a mutual friend. Instead you had to tear my heart to shreds and remind me how I cared.

The last thing I told her, before the sickness, was that I hoped she died. All the way coming to visit her the first time, that’s what I thought about. Was I to blame for this? Was she going to blame me for this? But when I came into that room, so white it was grey, it was all pushed aside.

You were just lying there. And you smiled so big just to see me. I forgot the fights, the anger, the hurt. I had to push that aside and sit by your bedside and hold your hand. You smiled that dying smile and told me about how things had been, and I nodded and held your hand and told you about how I missed seeing you.

But that was a lie. I still felt hurt, but she was dying. You can’t just blow off the dying like that. Except for the fact that I did. But she didn’t know when I got the last call, and said I’d come as soon as I could, that I didn’t even get in the car.

Doctor Sympathy or whatever told me I needed to be here soon, having the dignity to not sugarcoat the fact that your hour was very, very soon. I knew I had to be there that night. I knew you were going to die. The machines were failing you, your body was failing you, I was failing you. But it was nice. To hurt you like that. To not come to your bedside and hold your hand one last time.

I wonder what went through her head those last little times. Was she conscious enough to think solidly? Did she think of me? I hope I plagued her last thoughts the way she plagued my life. I hope she died wondering where I was, sad and alone, hurt and confused.  Maybe I would have liked to be there, to tell her something hurtful but even I have a line.

You died alone. Even if I had sat by your bedside, held your hand and said that I never loved you and was glad you were dead, at least you wouldn’t have died alone.

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